Thursday, January 25, 2007


About a year ago, before I moved to Auckland, I camped out in Napier with my parents and I worked part- time for a lovely lady called Christabel. Christabel imports Liberty fabrics for England and sells them in NZ and on the web. During that time I patternmade a range of skirts and childrenswear, as well as making ready-to-wear for her clients.

However I grew to really love the fabrics, and have begun buying them and hoarding them (I am a fabric hoarder. I'm waiting for my fabric chest- a Chinese red chest- to be moved up to Auckland).

From left: Liberty Kingly Cord in Butterfield B, Liberty Tana Lawn in Jenny's Ribbons B, My Little Pacer and Mim.

These are some fabrics that I have been showing off to my friends ( I still haven't stitched them up. If I get near Photoshop I will post some ideas). It is fantastic to see such a traditional brand using the skills of young and modern textile designers. I have been using Liberty more in my fashion design for competitions. I had decided that it was abit sad that the fabrics were not gaining much exposure for a younger generation- I didn't want them to get lost! So more unsually, I designed a range for the New Zealand Fashion Quarterly Young Designer Award (the first dress in the pic was made) based around the Liberty Christelle print- I love the stripey flowers and the mustard yellow/pink/teal colour combo. I didn't get any placement in the competition, which was sad, but however it is alot harder to compete in fashion design competitions when you are working- you no longer get the same level of support and facilities, and most importantly, time.

That was only one range in Liberty. I have designed another, which I am going to make for the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards, which is held mysteriously in Gore, South Island (not a major fashion centre). But the competition has an increasingly good reputation and a handful of my talented friends has won prizes over the past few years.

I have designed another small range 'the triplets', which is kind of like an idea of a tryptich painting- the idea flows onto garment or canvas to the other. Knowing that I would be time strapped I aimed to get more bang for my buck (bad term...). The range is based upon the Hera pattern (peacock feathers designed by william Morris) from Liberty and the superstitions that surround them, which I found very interesting (my Nana is very superstitious about peacock feathers). So basically I created an abstracted peacock feather that flowed from one dress to the other, so that you get a big picture when the wearers all stand together.

Now thats my big project. Now all I have to do is make it and develop it further.

Friday, January 19, 2007

books. and music.

I finished reading The Curriculum Vitae of Aurora Ortiz by Almundena Solana ( I love the sound of these Spanish names) late last night. It was a nice little book to read, with a dreamy protagonist in search of a job (as a caretaker of a Madrid apartment building preferably, so that she can spend her days reading books). She sends away letters to the Talento recruitment agency in the effort that they can help her- these are not regular letters where she is just asking for a job, she instead tells them her background, like a life experience. But does she get work in the end.....
I have a small stack of books sitting by my bed to read (but I can remember what they are) and a sparkling new copy of Frankie magazine that is asking to be read.

I am a bit mad on The White Stripes, so some time later I got to hear Jack White's side project ( I like the idea of having side projects. I'm a bit mad on them too) The Raconteurs. They have quite a different sound from The White Stripes. The band manages to incorporate a little drummer boy/ military style drumming into their music- check out "Broken Boy Soldiers"- good work Mr. Patrick Keeler (New Favourite Drummer of the Moment). I still think the key to the band is Jack White's vocals- he has a lot more experience with the mike, and a recognisable yelp- I like a distinctive voice (previous band obsessions include The Smashing Pumpkins)... key songs include "Blue Veins" and "Yellow Sun" and "Steady, As She Goes"
So the tunes from this CD are on mind loop at the moment- I will let you know when I'm onto something new.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


This is a favourite photo of mine. I took it a few years ago, when I just got my camera, and a new pair of shoes. I have not worn a pair of Chucks for a year now. But when I was a student I constantly wore them (Until they died. This pair developed a hole in the back that small stones would creep into when I walked.)

I think that it is quite representative of the shift in my life from being a student to being someone that works full time. It is amazing the amount of stress that went into 4 years at design school. I am still amazed that I managed to create a range (a micro range???). Please visit hems to the left to see examples of all the fashion work from my year. In case you're wondering where the title 'hems to the left' comes from, it is a patternmaking term that was drilled into us- when you develop a pattern, the hem always goes to the left- when you flip your patterns they can become distorted. Even today, when I am CAD patternmaking, thats what I do.

Nowadays since I work, I no longer have the time for large projects like these. An undertaking like a fashion design competition is now a big deal, and requires lots of planning. I think that blogs are great in the fact that they can pull creative people away from working in a vacumn- you always need feedback and support to make the most of your ideas. And that is important, or else you end up churning over the same kind of ideas that you had some time ago (Timeliness is very very important in fashion. Your good idea has to appear at just the right time)

Alas I still love my jumpsuits!!

Monday, January 15, 2007

bad camera- apologies!

and isnt that camera appalling!

a picture... at last!

Now on my listy- list I had included a note to put some pictures on this blog...
so here are a few of my embroidery, which has been under progress (with breaks) for the last few years.... Its for my niece (surprisingly enough!).
... notice the large gaping hole in the middle??? I will fill it up soon, but am currently growing a supposedly Clarice Cliff style tree, on the side( you can see the trunk under construction on the right), which I will show when it is finished.

I went a tad overboard with the clouds and the gold thread. I love clouds and they constantly appear in my word. Ditto for vertical lines!!!
....and I love old buttons!

Friday, January 12, 2007

pins and needles

Do you ever get pins and needles? I do. I have developed a what you would call a terrible habit, of sitting on my leg when I'm at the computer, and I occasionally wind up with pins and needles...

However I do like pins and needles of the sewing sort, but have never owned a pincushion. So as a result of my holiday craft lite kit I now own a pincushion. I'm going though a coral pink stage with my embroidery, I can't seem to stay away from it- there seems to be something very enticing about working with this thread. I did try to be good and nicely mark on the text, but in the end freehand embroidery won out, and the text is a bit haphazard.

I like the grey felt (thanks Japanese $2 shop!) it offsets the coral quite nicely. I think that it would be neat to use the circular shape for something else, like a cushion and link them together at the sides- I'm sure that I have seen something like this before, but can't quite get my head around how it would work just yet.

Continuing the pins and needle theme I spotted this print called You Are My Needles and Pins at Inside a Black Apple. Cute.

I also love this drawing of a needle that I did last year. I'm still trying to find a place for it. If I'm brave enough I might try and turn it into a print repeat - I know zilch about making print repeats. It will be a learning curve.

Monday, January 8, 2007

notes on my list

I have created a long-ish list of things that I want to create, or are in the business of creating. Most of them I suspect have had a good level of procrastination involved- so are probably carry-overs from lists of old.

Now that I think about it I have a neglected top that i was making this time last year to finish. I think I stopped it because I had to work on my portfolio in order to find a job... anyways this top would be great if I finished it. I took it from a fantastic 50's pattern (which I also made my 6th form ball/prom/formal dress from) I very much love the scalloped scooped neckline, prim cap sleeves and the curved hem I gave it.

That will be another item for my list- perhaps above the "sew myself a skirt" entry...

Thats it for me today- 2 posts in 1 working day is probably 2 posts too many!

back to work kids!

Today is my first day back at work for 2007- not suprisingly I am somewhat lethargic and sloooooowwww. I seem to have forgotten how to use Modaris (patternmaking software) in the last couple of weeks. Its like that going back to school feeling, only there are no teachers.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Marching into 2007

Hello again. Happy New Year!

Its good to have that new start "lets put up a new calendar" feeling. I didn't go out or anything last night (spoilsport) because New Years Eve in Napier for me has always somehow ended up in some kind of disaster. I think the lack of taxis and my house's slightly awkward location (on a hilly hill) can be to blame... walking up it at 5 in the morning with friends who are much drunker than you is not very funny...

Anywho I went in to wake up my parents this morning only to find that my sister's band The Haints of Dean Hall were playing on the radio- not bad for a band thats about a year old. It included an interview. I still think that its kind of weird hearing your sibling singing- in some ways I still think of my family as being visual artists/ designer types, and I forget that there is a bit of a musical bent- my brother can play excellent classical guitar, one of my sisters is learning the piano, my two nephews are into the guitar, and not to mention that I used to play the drums when I was a teenager (this often surprises people- obviously I do not seem like the drum playing type!!)